A Masculine Dilemma

    A Masculine Dilemma

    The paradox therefore is this: The cause of the lack of quality skincare options for men, is indeed the desire for male skin care options in the first place.

    What does being a man mean?

    “What does it mean to be a man …”, asks Herzog, the eponymous hero of Saul Bellow’s seminal novel—a question beneath generations of male anxiety, and, similarly, a foundational problem of the skin care industry; it should be dispensed, I think, by a single construct—gender is not monolithic.

    To ask the question, “Why are there so few quality skin care options for males?” is to surrender to the same ghosts of masculinity still wafting amongst the hops and barley of the the neighborhood sports pubs, as though a single drop of sunflower oil could drain the Eastwood from even the most untamed Clint.

    This is of course nonsense. No evidence supports that men and women have different skin care needs.

    Nevertheless, too many brands are tempted by the noise, and as a result, the men’s section of the skin care aisle is filled with products more suitable for Clint’s horse than his face.

    The paradox therefore is this: The cause of the lack of quality skin care options for men, is indeed the desire for male skin care options in the first place.

    So what hope do we have?

    If one man’s concept of maleness is in the rugged back country adventure and another prefers a night about town dressed in Victorian lace, our hope can be found in the one thing that unites the two archetypes: their differences. My thesis is that there is unity in those differences. We no more need to redefine the masculine archetype with an image of Harry Styles than we need to reject his masculinity in favor of the Brandos and McQueens of yesteryear. If we instead view masculinity as an individual experience, we can dispense with the rigidity of the definitions all together. This creates an ever expanding pool of individuals from whose experiences we can draw a collective understanding.


    my own masculine experience

    Even if I don’t need to be told what it means to be a man, I do still seek interesting content, and most certainly prefer an aesthetic which inspires rather than repulses me.

    - Joe Gonyea -

    My own masculine experience, as it relates to the skin care industry, is this: I am a businessperson who travels often, I prefer quality ingredients that are clearly labeled, I do not wish to put harsh chemicals on my face or body or support companies with a poor sense of social responsibility. My purchasing decisions reflect those values, and have been, until now, bereft of choice.

    This is why I was so drawn to Birds & Blokes.

    I am, after all, human.

    Even if I don’t need to be told what it means to be a man, I do still seek interesting content, and most certainly prefer an aesthetic which inspires rather than repulses me.

    With Birds & Blokes, I can dispense with the ridiculous idea of a “men’s skin care section.” I can celebrate all the colors in the kaleidoscope of male experience and beyond.

    And above all else, I can pretend, at least for a brief moment, that I’ve solved the existential male crisis that’s been so mighty a disruptor to the harmony of civilization—a humble and modest goal.


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